Fanning the Flames

Regular readers will know that we constantly campaign against the seemingly continual misuse of social media by businesses, and that we suspect that companies who use Facebook effectively for business are in the tiny minority.

Recent research by a leading CRM journalist on fan pages for companies on Facebook suggests that just because you become a fan of a company (known as “fanning”) it doesn’t mean the company then has permission to get in touch.

A full 70% of respondents in a recent US survey who “fanned” a brand, “…didn’t feel like they had given a company permission to market to them”.

Instead, Facebook users see “fanning” a company as a demonstration of, “…self-expression…”, and that, “…this endorsement isn’t an open invitation to the delivering of marketing messages [to them].”

If you are using Facebook to start conversations with potential customers, this might be bad news.

However the same report suggests that offering discounts and incentives do work on attracting and securing new customers through Facebook.

In our eyes, this is further evidence that social marketing is not (and in our opinion, never has been, nor will be) a free source of customers.

You need to hand over time, money or discounts or you’re just going to end up being the Facebook equivalent of a door-to-door utilities salesman.